Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Years ago, Richard Nixon had an Enemy's List, and he used the IRS to harass these individuals, putting these people through countless interrogations and investigations into their tax returns. Today, spurred by the anger of the people over bonuses paid by a sprawling and troubled Corporation, our Congressmen have turned to Nixon-like behavior, levying a 90% tax on the individuals receiving these bonuses. The bonuses themselves, it seems, were the result of contracts drawn up in 2006, one of the pleasures and profits of a Wall Street gone amok. Somehow, it was decided that these contracts must be honored, because of a phrase that concluded that, should the contracts fail to be paid, the amount of money could be doubled or, as I understand it, even tripled. The shame of it all lies in the fact that taxpayer's money was used to live up to these legal threats.

No wonder Corporations failed, with contracts like these on their books, combined with the huge salaries and Golden Parachutes that made life even more lucrative for a few. Now, faced with the anger of the public, with the Media fanning the flames with their 24/7 coverage, Congress has decided to levy these punitive taxes, in an effort to force the return of the money. Such tactics seem to be working, for three-fourths of the people involved have returned their bonuses. However, the levying of 90% taxes on individuals leaves a nasty taste behind, because such action is clearly against the Constitution, which bans taxing "after the fact" and for reasons of punishment.

The only good part of this story is the fact that the Senate has not yet voted on the bill and that it will probably fade away and disappear as the people involved step forward to return the bonuses and public anger dissipates. However, in the future, Congress should be careful of passing legislation that may eventually land on the desk of the President, a President aware of the emotions of the people, yet spurred by the fact that he is a Constitutional scholar, a former professor of Constitutional Law at the University of Illinois.

Dilemmas like this are placed daily on the desk of the President. We have a country filled with divisive beliefs, poverty-stricken people, homelessness, joblessness, and medical bills that reach to the Heavens and impoverish even those who consider themselves prosperous. Our schools are in dire need of attention. Four out of every ten high school students drop out, many of them intelligent enough to gain their diplomas, but somehow soured on the educational front. There have been News Reports on problems that boggle the mind....suicides among the military, rape among the female military, children sleeping under highway overpasses because our few Shelters are filled to capacity, State and National Campgrounds with few rangers, unmowed grass, unsightly litter and toilet facilities that assail the nose and offend the senses.

In the meantime, the Republicans are so bitter and angry at losing the election to a comparatively unknown man that they have done little besides try to halt legislation and appear on television to warn us of his financial proclivities. These same people stood silently and obediently in the sidelines as George W. Bush raped the Treasury and started his obsession with the plunder of Iraq. There were no press conferences on the steps of the U.S. Capitol back then. Instead, they enjoyed the lucrative advantages of K Street and accepted perks from lobbyists. Their supporters, most of them religious radicals with a sprinkling of true Conservatives, cheered each expensive move that George W. Bush made, including continued deregulation of financial institutions, with their hands outstretched to capitalize on the money madness and Greed that had replaced common sense and even decency.

One might describe Rush Limbaugh as their leader, a radio Shock Jock who bounces around in his chair in a seizure-like expression of his indignant language that thrills his listeners into even more divisive measures. Their latest invention is called a "Tea Party," where concerned citizens are supposed to gather together to "protest"....government spending, big government, and all of the jewels of behavior that they have foisted on this country for the past eight years. They actually believe that they did a good job of governing the country, despite the fact that George W. Bush looted our money, instigated torture, and invaded a country that was no immediate threat. They seem blind to the joblessness, homelessness and despair that is rife among the American public. Their Congressmen vote No on every measure that Obama suggests. The Party of Yes has morphed into the Party of No, and all because they cannot bear the loss of power.

We have elected Barack Obama to the highest post in the land. He is leading the country into new territory, a territory we should have been exploring for many, many years, a territory encompassing a country with new and vital infrastructure, improved schools, and medical care that the average person can afford to use. He is a visionary and he will lead this country forward, pay down that National Debt even as he uses money to fund these improvements by cutting the useless expenditures that have bogged down our government for so many years, improving the ones that work and dropping the ones that don't. Makes sense to me!

Today, we should be cheering the election of a man with courage and vision, but our joy is dampened by those who cannot seem to bear a tax cut for the Middle Class, who cling to their vision of untrammeled riches for a tiny fraction of our citizens, with the Middle Class, humble and beaten, gratefully serving in mediocre jobs.

That jewel of a document, our Constitution, which has been trampled and shredded by the likes of Bush and Cheney, has given equality to all of our citizens and this should include ALL of us, not just the ones someone selects. The drunken bum on the sidewalk is as important as anyone else and, with assistance and understanding, might pull himself out of the depths. Gays are equal to everyone else and should have the freedom to live their lives as they choose. Poverty should be the enemy of every one of us and, in the richest country in the world, no child should be homeless or hungry.

Under Obama's leadership, our country can reach the heights of prosperity and idealism that has formerly been only a dream. There will be glitches and mistakes along the way. How could there not be, with so many problems reaching his desk each day? As we close Guantanamo and use our country's justice system to decide the fate of those men, as we build those bridges and monitor those schools, as we step into the future with determination and hope, we must pull together to make America the shining example of just what a free society can do!

So, I am sorry, Mr. Limbaugh, I will not be able to attend your Tea Party! I am busy at that time supporting the work of our President! While you rant and rave and pound on your desk, lifting your ample bottom from your chair in your frenzy, I will be writing and supporting the activities of this very capable man we have been lucky enough to pull from academic life to political stardom. Perhaps next time, Mr. Limbaugh, but don't count on it!